Panthers look to keep rolling against Chiefs in Week 10

Everything Carolina fans need to know about the Kansas City matchup in Charlotte

Bob Donnan—USA Today Sports
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) celebrates after running back Jonathan Stewart (28) (not pictured) scores a touchdown in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium.

The comeback trail continues on Sunday. Two teams on recent winning streaks will face off when the Carolina Panthers (3-5) host the Kansas City Chiefs (6-2) on Sunday afternoon at Bank of America Stadium.Despite inconsistent play from Cam Newton, the Panthers have won their last two games, looking like a different team after the bye week. However, those wins came over two teams in the NFC West in the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams — two teams below the .500 mark.Sunday is a vastly different test with a Kansas City franchise that has rattled off four straight victories and now has 16 wins in its last 18 regular season games. In order for the Panthers to pull out a win, they’ll need Newton and Jonathan Stewart to get back on track. Here’s a look at all the game info for Panthers fans and a breakdown of Sunday’s matchup.Game InfoKickoff Time: 1 p.m.TV: CBSLine (via Sportsbook): Panthers -3Over/Under: 44.5Matchup to Watch: Cam Newton vs. Eric BerryIt may not be a matchup that will be evident on every passing play, but Eric Berry will likely cause problems for Newton on Sunday. Berry is a four-time Pro Bowler and was ranked the No. 2 strong safety in the NFL last season according to Pro Football Focus.The two players have a personal connection, playing basketball against each other in middle school before facing off on the gridiron in the SEC. Now they will match up in an NFC showdown that could decide the fate of the Panthers season.Newton has tallied just one total touchdown over the last two games, but that’s not necessarily a negative. He got the Panthers to the red zone multiple times against the Cardinals, but deferred to Stewart near the goal line after suffering a concussion one a rushing touchdown attempt earlier in the year.While the Chiefs rank eighth in the NFL in scoring defense (18.9 ppg), the secondary has allowed 245 passing yards per game (14th) and 15 passing TDs (21st). Even with Berry likely helping over the top on Kelvin Benjamin or Greg Olsen, expect Newton to find more success on Sunday.X-Factor: James BradberryAfter missing more than a month due to a toe injury, James Bradberry was back in full force against the Rams. The rookie corner played 100 percent of the defensive snaps in L.A. and was targeted six times, allowing one reception for 10 yards, albeit the lone Rams touchdown to Kenny Britt.It was a much better performance than the last time Bradberry was on the field against Julio Jones prior to his toe injury. His coverage was great on deep balls and stayed stride-for-stride with any Rams wideout he matched up with in his return.If Jeremy Maclin is healthy, Bradberry will be paired with him all afternoon. Maclin misses time and the matchup would be either Tyreek Hill or Chris Conley, two young receivers with inconsistent production this season. Bradberry’s coverage against the KC receivers should give the Panthers defensive line time to wreak havoc on Alex Smith.PredictionThis is a tough call given the two teams’ current records and their respective winning streaks. While it’s easy to say the Panthers still haven’t beaten any good opponents — the three NFC West teams have a combined record of 7-16-1 — Sunday should serve as a proving ground for the defending NFC champs.Spencer Ware is expected to return to the lineup after passing concussion protocol, but the Panthers front seven will look to bottle him up with KC’s limited passing options. While Smith has feasted on weak passing defenses like Oakland, Indianapolis and New Orleans, Carolina’s secondary gets a huge boost from Bradberry’s second game back.Expect a similar game plan from the Panthers as the one they deployed against the Cardinals. Against a secondary that has looked suspect against the Steelers and Saints this season, Newton will get the Panthers to the red zone with Stewart finishing the job in a third-straight win for the Panthers.Final: Panthers 27, Chiefs 23